King proves he's value for money
Steven King again showed he is one of least-utilised talents in Hong Kong racing with a pretty double at Sha Tin but he won't get the chance for a quick follow-up. King won on Frame's People and Spring Fountain yesterday but goes to Happy Valley midweek with only one mount.
'Well, that's just the way it goes sometimes. It's great to win a couple today, though, especially winning for Derek Cruz, who has been such a great supporter,' King said.
King's double kept him in the top 10 riders, but the Australian has had fewer rides than any other leading jockey this season and almost 100 fewer than championship leader Douglas Whyte. His sole Happy Valley ride on Wednesday will be Albela for Cruz, and the trainer was in celebration mode after Spring Fountain clicked for his first win in the last event.
The writing has been on the wall with Spring Fountain at his last couple of starts, but he has cost himself by running off the course in the straight when making his run on the outside. 'That's just greenness and I think he will grow out of it,' King said.
'From the better draw today, I decided to try to keep him inside other horses and ride him for luck through the field. They split open at the right time and in the end it was a very nice win. One day he will come down the outside to win races, but he is still new to the game.'
King believes the son of Elbio will get over longer distances than yesterday's 1,400 metres, but doesn't see any need to rush him. 'Yes, he'll probably get a good mile but he's still learning to race,' he said. 'It's probably better to keep him to 1,400m while he is getting his education in racing. He does have some potential when he does everything right.'
King said his earlier winner, Frame's People, had also signalled his chances yesterday when he raced without luck last weekend in a strong 1,400-metre event behind Dashing Winner.
'He just had no luck last time when he got blocked and stepping up to the 1,600 today I would have been disappointed if he hadn't run some sort of a race,' King said.
Winning trainer Gary Ng Ting-keung said a change of venues and a class drop had been the difference for the gelding. 'He was running very well at Happy Valley but without luck. Because of the small track, he really needs some luck to come through the field and win but he was having to make a long run around the outside on the turn,' Ng explained.
'He was racing well but after a while, when you don't win, you just think maybe you should try something different so we brought him to Sha Tin last week,' he said. 'That 1,400-metre race was a very strong Class Two and probably a bit strong for him, but he ran very well. Today he dropped to a Class Three and went up to 1,600. It was just the perfect race for him.'
Dwayne Dunn and John Size continued their good form yesterday as eight-year-old Authorised won his first race since May 2000 after solid lead-up form.
'Authorised was always going well enough to win a race, but he does need a few things to fall into place during the running,' Size said. 'Today, he just got that race where they did.'
The day could have been even better for Size, whose horses continue to run well and only Run And Win failed to place yesterday from the trainer's six runners.
'My Favourite didn't have much luck in the straight in his race and Darwin didn't get beaten far either, so I'd have to say I'm happy with how they are running,' Size said. 'Darwin found the rail today to guide him and so he didn't hang, but he just found the other horse a touch too tough on the day.'
The other horse was the Brian Kan Ping-chee-trained Nice Memories, who was lifted over the line by Gerald Mosse and took Kan to 17 wins and equal fifth on the championship table as he creeps towards an effective defence of last season's title.